To commemorate the centennial of the terrible night that the Titanic sank, I thought this article about the use of genetic genealogy to solve one of the ship’s mysteries would be appropriate.
Little Sidney Leslie Goodwin was laid to rest in Halifax’s Fairview Lawn Cemetery nearly a century before anyone knew who he was. The toddler’s body was plucked from the North Atlantic by crew members aboard the Mackay-Bennett, one of two cable ships tasked with recovering Titanic’s dead after the ship sank on April 15, 1912.
“When they brought in this small child, tiny child, with no life-jacket, they were very much moved,” says Alan Ruffman, a Halifax author and researcher who ultimately helped find the child’s identity. “They resolved among themselves that if no one claimed this body, they would see that it got a decent burial.”
Days later, the boy’s remains were buried at the end of a row of Titanic victims, beneath a grey tombstone dedicated to an “unknown child.”
It would be 90 years before he was finally given a name.
The rest of the story is here, including details about the mitochondrial DNA used to identify the little boy as Sidney Leslie Goodwin, a 2-year-old who was traveling with his parents, Frederick and Augusta, and five siblings from England to Niagara Falls, New York. None of the Goodwins survived the sinking, and no bodies besides the newly identified Sidney’s were ever recovered.
RIP, Goodwin family.